Behind the scenes: KETC on campus, STARS program on camera
Waiting out in the lobby of the Research Building at the University of Missouri–St. Louis was Aimee Dunlap, assistant professor of biology.
“We’re science researchers,” she teased. “We don’t really come out of our labs and do these sorts of things.”
She meant things like going on camera with KETC (Channel 9) for an in-depth look at her lab’s role in the Students and Teachers as Research Scientists program at UMSL.
STARS brings high school students to campus every summer to conduct research in labs with leading scientists and write academic papers to present at the end of the six-week program. Interested particularly in science education, The Nine Network’s Senior Producer Jim Kirchherr wanted to feature STARS on his new show “Science Matters.”
“Science explains so many things that we’re surrounded by,” he said. “It’s important that we continue that exploration.”
Dunlap and her STARS student Lucas Shanker spent the better part of their morning acquainting Kirchherr with their study on bees’ social choices and behavior.
With the camera gear and the media crammed into the lab for close-ups of tunnels constructed for the bees, Dunlap’s voice cut over the top of all the buzz –
“We’re examining the bees like they’re shopping in a grocery store,” she said. “It’s game theory. We want to see if they learn faster and make certain choices independently or if they choose things based on social information.”
Kirchherr then interviewed Shanker, who explained how one bee might follow the scent or choice of another.
“It was pretty cool being on camera,” he said. “It was exciting, and I was nervous, but I get to see myself on TV later.”
The Parkway Central High School student will go back to his senior year with undergraduate-level research experience to put on his college applications and a little bit of time in the spotlight.
Besides Dunlap’s lab, Kirchherr also visited the labs of Bruce Hamper and Wendy Olivas, who each mentored a STARS student this summer. In total there are 13 UMSL faculty members who hosted at least one of the 64 students who graduated from the STARS program on July 17.
Students also conducted research at partner institutions, which include Confluence Discovery Technologies, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis.
Even UMSL Chancellor Tom George got a bit of time on camera when he lectured to the STARS students about the different states of matter, focusing mainly on his work with carbon clusters.
“Fewer people are going into science, technology, engineering and math fields,” George said. “STARS is trying to make a special thrust for all kinds of students from different backgrounds and experiences to go on to college and into STEM disciplines.”
STARS is sponsored by LMI Aerospace/D3 Technologies, the Office of the Chancellor at UMSL, SLU, WUSTL, St. Louis Symphony, DuPont Nutrition and Health, Monsanto, Academy of Science of St. Louis, Easter Seals Midwest, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, St. Louis Zoo and University of Missouri–Kansas City.
The STARS segment on “Science Matters” aired Wednesday July 29 at 10 p.m. on Nine PBS. Click here to stream the episode online.
KETC (Channel 9)
Short URL: https://blogs.umsl.edu/news/?p=57997